Saturday, March 26, 2022

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin, Part 3 - The Multiverse of Madness


I tried to trade the SouljaGame in for this at Gamestop and they wouldn't take it.

We left off on traversing the marshes to reach the Marsh Cave Marsh Tower. This place...looks almost exactly like Sunleth Waterscape from Final Fantasy XIII. I thought that might just be in my head, then the music launched into a remix of the best track from that game, the sad overture track.

You can change the weather here from rain to sun at will (...just like Sunleth Waterscape) and doing so changes the area layout so you can reach previously-inaccessible places.

Alright, what's goin' on here? Why are areas from other games showing up in this one?

A sweet cliff view of the Elfland region...without Elfland.

Elfland: "It'll feel so empty! Without me."

Cactuar occasionally pop up and they're slippery as usual. Defeating them seems to give a ton of job points, but you gotta corner 'em.

We get another of these perplexing missives. The characters in this shot look significantly more...evil?

The next part involves using the rain to raise and lower water levels. It's the first dungeon in the game that really takes some time to figure out, and it's the point where I got a little less into the game because I felt like it was deviating from the "source material" by not sending me to the Marsh Cave.

Water Elementals show up here and they're unnecessarily gorgeous.

The area boss (which feels like another miniboss) is an Elemental Core protected by a pair of higher-tier elementals. The Water one is, again, super gorgeous.

Defeat the two elementals and it staggers the core so you can absolutely wail on it. Two rounds of that and it's dusted. Until... turns into an amorphous blob of colors for another phase of the fight! Sorta reminds me of the Mombomb situation in FFIV.

Finally, we reach the tower in the marshes. This place is pretty creepy, and contains the first appearances of Ogres. They're big and nasty and are basically minibosses when they show up. They nailed the appearance of these things, just like all the other FF1 enemies so far.

This tower is also full of Guardian cyborgs. Wait a minute...those were Mirage Tower enemies in FF1. Is this actually Mirage Tower? We skipped about ten steps.

This tower is particularly confusing and revolves around a central elevator that can send you running in circles if you're not paying attention.

Another boss, the Chimera. This thing was in FF1 but I don't remember if it ever actually appeared as a miniboss or if it was just a common enemy.

Here it has the boss life meter. This is probably the most challenging fight so far, but it still isn't much to write home about.

With multiple heads and a variety of attacks, it's basically a proto-Tiamat that gets you ready for that fight.

At the top of the tower is this warp that transits you to the Flying Fortress.

My God. This IS Mirage Tower. Why are we here already, and why is it in the swamp instead of the desert?

Maybe there was FF1 lore about the Mirage Tower moving around and appearing in other places, and I missed it. It'd explain the name of the place.

The Flying Fortress is very, very high up, and a relic of some ancient civilization that lived on this planet. Maybe their last relic, as the only thing that escaped their self-immolation via nukes and Warmechs, or whatever it was that went down.

Damn, son. It's also worth noting that this area's music also contains a remix of the Tower of Babil music from FFIV. Not sure why but I'm into it.

I gotta say, this is like a B- or C+ as a game overall. For a huge FF1 fan who has played that game back and forth, however, it's an A- or so. It's just nuts to see places from that game realized in modern visuals, and the soundtrack is full of remixes and hints of tunes from other games in the series. I guess this is what they mean when they call a game a "love letter" to fans. In that sense it reminds me a bit of World of Final Fantasy with a little less dreaminess and a little more gameplay complexity.

Somewhere in here I managed to max out the Dragoon skill tree. Considering I only unlocked the class two dungeons ago, this shows how massive and expansive the areas in this game are.

And speaking of brick walls...after fighting through lots of cyborgs and running down hallways, we arrive at the area boss in a VERY FFVII Remake looking room.

Tiamat. My God. It's HUGE.

Wait, why are we fighting the last Fiend first? And why did we get a flash-forward of this in the intro? It's like the devs couldn't wait to show off Tiamat. It's probably the most visually impressive of the Fiends so I kinda get it.

Tiamat isn't happy to see us. I JUST WANNA GO BACK TO THE MARSH CAVE

Neon feels like she knows Tiamat already, as the weirdness continues. We need to get this amnesia problem fixed.

Tiamat has a bunch of spinning beam attacks like this PURPLE KAMEHAMEHA FROM MULTIPLE HEADS.

However what you can do is roll right between the beams and hack away while Tiamat is spinning, since the beams leave the area in immediate melee range alone.

This thing is awesome to fight, and the hardest boss in the game. Maybe the only fight in the game that expected or asked much from the player as far as tactics and skill go. It does, however, feel like it's way too early in the game and meant for the final quarter instead.

The fight is won, and that's one Fiend down out of four.

That was definitely the first BIG boss of the game, so here it is. An important thing to note about this fight is that doing HP damage in phase 2 is basically useless due to Tiamat's seemingly-endless regeneration ability. What you need to do is stagger Tiamat (one time) to win. That just means being persistent and aggressive with attacks to get the stagger bar down (as it slowly recovers) before you run out of Potions (unless you've got the delightfully OP White Mage).

Oh, all this time and I haven't mentioned potions. In this game they function like Estus Flasks in the Souls series, in that you have a limited number of them and they replenish every time you rest at a bonfiresave. The normal amount you carry is 5, but it can go up to a max of 9 if you get more as drops from enemies over the course of a dungeon and don't use them up.

As Tiamat disintegrates, it leaves behind...this woman.

She's the one who was surrounded by green smoke (Tiamat's color) in the main artwork for the game. And here she is just sorta falling out of Tiamat? Huh. My theory that she = Tiamat is seeming more and more plausible. Maybe she's the next Tiamat and it's a recurring cycle.

Sounds like she's another sole survivor of a previous "Four Heroes" expedition that went poorly. It probably went poorly because they're all skipping half of FF1 and going straight to Tiamat!

She's wildly gorgeous, and only cares about one thing: Defeating Chaos.



Sophia is also a genius who knows how to operate advanced ancient machinery, and gets us the Wind Crystal. Unfortunately it doesn't unlock any new classes, or really do anything. But all of that is okay, because she joins the party as well.

Sophia presents us with a choice now. The Flying Fortress can beam us down to the surface world, but we have to pick a destination and obviously we're stuck with that destination. The choices are: Go after the Earth Crystal or go after the Fire Crystal. Wait, no Water Crystal? Nope, that one's last.

Now that we have five characters, I have to figure out what trio to bring. It's a pretty easy choice. Poor Jed hasn't really done anything in this game. He seems like a likeable enough guy, but I didn't have much time with only 3 characters.

Annnnnd my inventory is getting full again. By my measuring, this happens roughly every 3-4 hours, and it's off to the Smithy to dismantle everything. Look at that massive pile of materials that I'm not using yet. We'll probably hit the final boss before I finally decide it's time to actually use any materials...

Sophia starts out with Black Mage and Dragoon unlocked. She seems to do more damage as a Dragoon so I went with that.

In any case, I choose the Earth Crystal to go after next. Rather than messing around with vampires and ruby-eating golems, in this version of events you have to cross a snowy mountain range to reach the Earth Cavern. This place reminds me a lot of Final Fantasy X, just like Sunleth earlier was a callback. Wait...

...hold on a damn minute here. The loading screen for this area says this place was "modeled after" Dimension 10. So the Dimensions that these weird messages keep alluding to...are the other games?

Lemme check the one for the marshes.

...yep, sure enough, Dimension 13. And by "divine machines" it must mean the Fal'Cie and all that jazz.

This is actually incredible. They're making all of the FF games different dimensions of the same universe. Apparently the Lufenians, who "designed" FF1's various ancient locations, gazed into other dimensions to get inspiration for their designs. Perhaps all of the different versions/remakes of FF1 have been different cycles of that world's history as the Lufenians created and re-created it with various differences.

The Flying Fortress missive says it was inspired by the great towers of Dimension 4. Which explains the Tower of Babil musical overtones.


This game really does have a lot to it, if you take the time to look.

On a last note for today, here's the snow mountain music. Really good track here, kind of reminds me of Chrono Trigger.

1 comment:

  1. I don't remember a lady being in Tiamat!

    And that's five.